Get access

Methodologic Implications of Allocating Multiple-Race Data to Single-Race Categories


  • Jennifer D. Parker and Diane M. Makuc

Jennifer D. Parker Ph.D Health Research Scientist, Division of Health Utilization and Analysis, National Center for Health Statistics, 6525 Belcrest Road, Room 790, Hyattsville, MD 20782. Diane M. Makuc Dr. P.H. Director, Division of Health Utilization and Analysis, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782.

Abstract

Objective. To illustrate methods for comparing race data collected under the 1977 Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directive, known as OMB-15, with race data collected under the revised 1997 OMB standard.

Data Sources/Study Setting. Secondary data from the 1993–95 National Health Interview Surveys. Multiple-race responses, available on in-house files, were analyzed.

Study Design. Race-specific estimates of employer-sponsored health insurance were calculated using proposed allocation methods from the OMB. Estimates were calculated overall and for three population subgroups: children, those in households below poverty, and Hispanics.

Principal Findings. Although race distributions varied between the different methods, estimates of employer-sponsored health insurance were similar. Health insurance estimates for the American Indian/Alaska Native group varied the most.

Conclusions. Employer-sponsored health insurance estimates for American Indian/Alaska Natives from data collected under the 1977 OMB directive will not be comparable with estimates from data collected under the 1997 standard. The selection of a method to distribute to the race categories used prior to the 1997 revision will likely have little impact on estimates of employer-sponsored health insurance for other groups. Additional research is needed to determine the effects of these methods for other health service measures.

Ancillary